For the first time since 2015, the British rider returns full time to the WorldSBK series, and will ride alongside three-time reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea.These two are no strangers to each other; both rode for the Castrol Honda team in 2013 and 2014, battling the entire season.“I have to say a big thanks to Kawasaki for this opportunity,” says Leon Haslam, 35. “Returning to the World Superbike Championship is something I’m really looking forward to. After scoring race wins, lap records, pole positions and a championship runner-up position in my seven years there it’s going to be great to get back to WorldSBK.“The 2019 season will throw up some new challenges as the competitiveness between the manufacturers continues to be at the highest level but I’m confident that with the professional and successful team behind me we can enjoy plenty of success.”Throughout his SBK careers, which ran eight full seasons since 2003, Haslam has claimed 39 podiums, including five victories.His best season finish to date was 2010 when he finished runner-up aboard the Team Suzuki Alstar GSX-R1000 behind Max Biaggi (Aprilia RSV4).Haslam’s last time on the WorldSBK grid was during the Donington Park round last season. He rode as a wildcard for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, earning second in race one.Speaking of the signing, KRT team manager Guim Roda says: “It’s understandably tough to replace a rider of Tom’s quality and the final decision to sign Leon for 2019 was made after considering many factors, some obvious and others to answer internal team factors.“There’s a complex sporting strategy behind this decision, and to satisfy our team goals we felt that Leon was the best possible rider for the job. Rumors and speculation have filled many of the last weeks and we are happy to finally confirm Leon as the KRT choice.“KHI knows, I know, he knows, and crew chief Marcel Duinker knows that he takes onto his shoulders a big responsibility and, at 35 years of age, to get this opportunity is his best chance to prove he still has something extra to contribute.“We have a clear idea where to find this contribution and I’m personally motivated to use his experience matched to ours to try to make a stronger package that nobody has yet witnessed from Leon. As we say in KRT… ‘Results are the greatest evidence of endeavor’.”
KTM RC 390 and Gordon McCall of Quail Motorcycle Gathering
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the new KTM RC 390. The entry-level KTM has always been an impressive motorcycle that has sold extremely well, however the factory has now taken the bike to another level, with top-spec features that are typically found on flagship machines. Clearly KTM has realized that even smaller engined machines should have high spec suspension, brakes and electronics packages. Nic tells us how well the new RC 390 is equipped, and what he thought of riding the smaller displacement rocket.
In the second segment I chat with automotive and motorcycle industry icon, Gordon McCall. Gordon is the Director of Motorsports at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, California.
This weekend of Saturday May 14th sees the annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering re-start after its Covid-forced hiatus, and having attended every one of the previous Motorcycle Gatherings, personally I’m very happy that the event is back on the schedule. Gordon chats about the event and a little of what’s happening this year. It’s a great event and if you feel like a trip to the gorgeous Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, you’ll get to meet Gordon, Roland Sands, and of course a large number of stunning motorcycles too.
From all of us at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!